As a Florida licensed real estate agent working short sales in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties, I check the lis pendens filings in each of those counties each day shortly after they are filed. A couple of weeks ago I saw a foreclosure filing for a property in the subdivision of my own residence in St Petersburg, FL. Looking a little closer I discovered that it was for the home directly next door to my own.
I do mailouts to folks in St Petersburg, Clearwater, Seminole, Tampa, Bradenton, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Largo, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor and basically all areas in and around the Tampa Bay area for those who have recently been named defendant in a foreclosure action. I get a good response I think partly because my services are free to them and partly because my mailers are chock full of information that can help them get out of this foreclosure mess, containing the harm to their credit report, and getting them a check for $3,000 for relocation – again all of that is free. You see licensed real estate agents in Florida represent sellers in short sale transactions in a fiduciary relationship yet shorting lenders pay their fee upon closing the transaction. Banks need Florida real estate agents to get short sales closed and if you are a Florida short seller then you need a real estate agent too. The idea that there is a short sale expert who can guide them through the process is appealing and perhaps even more so if it is someone that they don’t already know. My friendly mailer is timely. But I’m getting sidetracked here, back to my neighbor.
I’m not sure he speaks English. I waive to him every now and then when I see him in the front yard. He smiles and waives back. I’ve tossed a few volleyballs back over the fence that landed in my backyard when the kids were playing – I hear a child say thank you as the ball bounces back into their yard. The kids speak English but I don’t think the father does. Anyways, I saw the foreclosure filing and decided not to send my mailer to him.
Why you ask? I’m not sure but something felt strange about it because I never know how someone might react. When I send the mailer offering Florida short sale help to strangers in the Tampa Bay area I learn that almost all of them know, are related to, or are friends with another Florida real estate agent yet they choose to work with me, and perhaps the fact that I don’t already know them is what is appealing. People need to come to grips with the fact that homes are upside down, incomes have been reduced, living expenses have increased, etc. and it is easier to talk with a realtor-stranger who you know is an expert than it is to bear your soul to the local realtor-agent-friend whose kid plays on the same little league team as your own.
A few minutes before writing this article I stepped outside. It was around 9 pm Monday night. A creepy pick up truck was parked in front of my neighbor’s house. I hadn’t seen it before and it was parked in an odd way blocking the driveway. A few more steps outside and the pick up truck starts its engine and drives away. The first thought that came to my mind was that my neighbor has just been served his foreclosure complaint by the driver of the creepy pick up truck. After that I started thinking about how many people are going through this exact situation right now – just served with a Florida foreclosure complaint by a process server. And finally, I wrote this article.